Itís finally done, well mostly done, but at least it is rideable at this point. Actually, I donít want it to be done. Iíve enjoyed the whole process too damn much to see it just end.
I bought the bike from a former LBS owner in Oakland, CA. It was in decent condition and rode fairly well, if a bit stiffly. BTW, this guy had a large storage unit filled to the roof with bikes he had taken in on trade over a twenty year period. Some very interesting stuff in there.
I began this project last fall at just about the same time that I lost my job. Since this meant that I would need to be more cost-conscious I ended up incorporating parts that I will eventually upgrade. I found things at garage sales, CL, eBay, online bike shops and I even bought an item or two from the LBS. A tighter budget made the hunt more fun and creative.
I would like to offer a hats-off to Bicycle Outfitters in Los Altos, CA for their experience and expertise. At critical junctures they helped disassemble, modify and reassemble key components. Iíd still have a pile of parts if not for them. Most amazingly, they didnít look at me like I was nuts when I walked in with half of the frame in my hand. They actually became enthused about helping out.
I had decided to upgrade everything. Here is a parts list of what I ended up using:
-SA 8 spd hub from AEBike laced into used alloy BMX wheel, 36 spoke, Kenda tire from the front wheel of my DT IX
-New 100mm, alloy, basic front wheel from local wheel builder, 36 spoke, Schwalbe Marathon from CL(BF member, BTW)
-Tektro V-pull brake and lever on front from garage sale
-Nashbar caliper brake on rear with a drop bolt ala Sheldon Brown
-A used MTB rear brake lever from a fellow in the South Bay with about 2-300 junk bikes on his property. Just like a pick and pull auto junk yard, I wandered around till I found something usable, of which there wasnít much.
-New Jagwire brake cables and housings
-New Nashbar 350mm seat post
-Foam/gel saddle from my old MTB, at least ten years old, but still comfy, if tattered
-RST Capa suspension fork from Bike Stop w/ 265mm threaded steerer, Cane Creek S2 headset
-Zoom adj. angle stem from LBS
-Flat bars from DT IX
-UN72 BB with Shimano cups 68x113 from eBay, Sugino 48T chainring and cranks from eBay, chain from LBS
-Hunter Green and Gloss Black paint from hardware store(OSH), DuPont Nason clear acrylic sealer from auto parts store(?)
-DecoColor paint pens from crafts supply store(Michaels)
-Testorís decal paper from local hobby store(?)
What follows are some of the details about this build. Itís long but hopefully interesting. Read it at your own peril!
The bike came apart fairly easily, even the BB. The LBS pressed out the cotter pins and loosened the BB cups for me without any struggles. The threads inside the bb shell were in great shape, clean and well defined. Disassembling everything else was very straightforward.
As an experiment to see how well this would work, I cleaned up the frame and sanded it to rattlecan paint it. I chose Hunter Green, Gloss Black and Straw highlights to match the colors used on Fords from the late 20ís. I love that color combo on those old pickups. I did the painting outdoors in December and January, not the best time to paint. I even let the paint dry indoors for 3 days. But when I put on the clear coat, the paint crazed in spots. Actually, it would have been more interesting if all of the paint had crazed, it was a cool effect.
I found these paint pens that worked well for detailing at a local crafts megastore . They actually have real paint in them. They are available with different size tips and a lot of colors. Highly recommended.
The UN72 BB I bought on eBay was used. When I started threading the adjustable cup into the BB shell it went in about Ĺ way and stopped. I backed it out and cleaned and lubed the threads at least 3 or 4 times, but it still did not work. I finally took everything to a machinist who figured out that the cup wasnít 26 TPI, but 24 TPI. He recut the threads on the cup to 26 TPI and it worked. I even tried the suggestion from one of the R20 sites of grinding the ridge off the fixed cup to give some adjustment on that side, like the Phil Wood cups, but when I installed them I still couldnít get it to screw in any deeper.
The fork and steerer were a challenge. RST repeatedly promised to send me a threadless steerer, but after 1Ĺ months of waiting I gave up and used the threaded steer with the already installed threadless headset cups. This worked quite well. Itís held in place with the nuts from a Ritchey threaded headset plus a few spacers. The fork, however, is way too springy. Even when braking the front end nosedives. I think a rigid replacement is in order here. It would certainly be much lighter.
The Sugino crank fit well with plenty of clearance from the chain stay. When I first assembled the drive train, the chainline was way off. First I realized I had the rear sprocket reversed. Getting that right helped a lot. But to get it even closer I had to mount the chainring on the inside of the spider arms. Luckily the arms seemed designed for this. Now itís really close to being straight.
I printed a single ďTWENTYĒ decal using the artwork provided by LitttlePixel. I printed one, applied it and it disappeared against the green paint. I printed another, running it through he printer five times to get more color depth. It still doesnít really stand out, but thatís OK. It looks good just the same.
I want to thank everyone on the forum that has ever posted anything about the R20. Iíve read it all many times. This bike would not have happened, and I would not have learned nearly so much, without all the freely given advice and info. Thank you all very much.
If you have any questions, please ask.
Here is a link to photos on Flickr.